Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet is set to discuss retaining ownership of Lutterell Hall in West Bridgford and exploring lease agreements with up to three community organisations whilst maintaining public use of the venue.
The Council received three expressions of interest from local community groups to take over management of the Hall and the Council will consider working closely with them to keep the building open for community use.
If discussions proceed, the authority envisages this new model could attract more community activities and use of the Hall, secure external grant funding and provide an increased sense of community ownership and involvement of this valued asset in the town.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Simon Robinson, confirmed that the authority’s Cabinet will now discuss recommendations at its March 10 meeting and could approve the plan, all subject to due diligence.
He said: “This is really positive progress and the recommendation we will discuss supports the retention of the Hall by the Council as a community facility and its possible management whilst introducing fresh opportunities as a venue.
“Following an extensive process of information gathering and consultation, officers carried out an assessment of the expressions of interest received and the options for its future.
“Retaining ownership and entering into a lease agreement with one or more community organisations could best achieve our focus of providing the Hall as an accessible, well used, financially sustainable community facility for local residents.
“The different community groups each have their own strengths and leasing the Hall to a managed consortium of community groups may be the most appropriate solution.”
The Council owns the Hall in central West Bridgford, which has been managed as a community venue for over 40 years.
Usage fell between 2016 and 2019 and combined with the decision of Nottinghamshire Police to market the adjacent Police station for sale, led the authority to consider future options for the site.
Last June Cabinet invited expressions of interest from third parties at the same time Police marketed their plot.
The outcome of the public consultation, interest for alterative management and marketing of the site for potential sale have all now concluded.
Should the recommendation be agreed, it is anticipated none of the three groups would be able to pay rent to the Council and would expect it to continue to fund any required improvement works.
However the authority is aware this could be a necessity to continue to allow community use of Lutterell Hall.
Cllr Robinson added: “We have met face to face, listened and spoken widely with all stakeholders and interested parties into the Hall’s future and received over 570 responses to our public consultation.
“All have been considered and this option for lease agreements could be the strongest to pursue, providing opportunities for the Hall’s offering to grow, further involve the community and still provide the Council’s overarching support to maintain the building.”
If the recommendation is agreed, the Council will work through governance arrangements, due diligence and lease negotiations with any new groups to find a solution at the earliest opportunity.